Prairie Post (East Edition)

Chinook School Division follows province in lifting COVID-19 measures


The school division will be reviewing and updating the Chinook Return to School Plan, but he expected that some of the details in this plan will remain in place.

“Likely some things are going to stay, like we’re still going to encourage hand hygiene,” he said. “We talked to Dr. Torr today and he talked about how important that still is. Some things will be remaining as they had been and cleaning is a part of that, but there may be some give on some other aspects, depending on our circumstan­ce, because right now with Omicron and everything else things slowly change over time and so we’ll make those recommenda­tions based on our circumstan­ce that we’re dealing with.”

He emphasized it is still important for students and staff to stay at home when they are sick or to go home when they start to feel sick while they are at school.

“That will still be in place,” he said. “The big message in all of our messaging has been if you have symptoms or not feeling well, you should stay home and if kids or staff develop it while they’re at school, they should go home. And so those two things will still happen, because we just have to do our best just to protect our circumstan­ces and so we would hope that anyone who has any symptoms and not feeling well will make that good choice and not coming to school, whether that be student or staff.”

A previous change in provincial COVID-19 selfisolat­ion and close contact protocols in late January meant that parents and caregivers are no longer required to notify schools about positive test results. Schools therefore have no formal record of the number of COVID-19 related cases, as was previously the case.

“It’s not an obligation to, there’s no process,” he said. “We do still have to report absences in any building above 10 per cent. We always would with Health and so if we’re getting to a number above those, it’s likely telling us that we have a few more cases related to COVID, flu or other illnesses that would be in that circumstan­ce, but we wouldn’t have a way of separating that out anymore.”

The school division will continue to follow this approach in the future and consult with Public Health if there is a significan­t level of absenteeis­m in a school due to illness.

“If we have a high absentee rate in any school, we’d be reporting that to Health and with their guidance we’ll make decisions based on their recommenda­tions, but we will not have the same level of data that can confirm things as we previously would have,” he said. “We would still go through a process of informing Health, having conversati­ons around that, and then supporting that school in whatever steps or measures we need to put in place.”

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